Liability Protection When Reopening A Business

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Liability Protection When Reopening A Business

COVID-19 and Business Liability

As businesses prepare to reopen, virus liability protection is a concern. If someone gets sick at a newly-opened business, is that business liable?

“It would be very difficult for a business to be negligent if they opened any time, but especially after the CDC guidelines are lifted because they are following orders,” said Nick Arnoldy, CEO at Marshfield Insurance. “A business’ general liability policy covers in the event of liable or negligent property damage and liable or negligent bodily harm.”

By definition, negligence includes duty owed, breach of duty, causation, and damages or harm.

“All four of these would need to be proven,” said Arnoldy. “If they open earlier and people get sick, there’s more of a case, but the person would still have to prove all four elements of negligence.”

In laymen’s terms – if someone became sick, they would need to prove that the business owed them reasonable care, that the business failed to act in a reasonable manner to provide that care, that this failure of care led to sickness, and that the sick person suffered injury or loss that is compensable by the business or court.

Typically, general liability insurance will protect a business in the event of a lawsuit and cover legal charges, unless there is a communicable disease or viral exclusion in their policy.

“A lot of policies have these exclusions. It’s not common, but we see it a lot with certain classes of business,” said Arnoldy. “Provided they don’t have a communicable disease or viral exclusion on the policy, I think if you’re opening up after the restrictions, it’s going to be an extremely tough sell for somebody to try to make that business liable.”

For more information, contact Marshfield Insurance at 715-387-4443.


Statements on this web site as to policies and coverages provide general information only. This information is not an offer to sell insurance. Insurance coverage cannot be bound or changed via submission of any online form/application provided on this site or otherwise, e-mail, voice mail or facsimile. No binder, insurance policy, change, addition, and/or deletion to insurance coverage goes into effect unless and until confirmed directly by a licensed agent. Any proposal of insurance we may present to you will be based upon the information you provide to us via this online form/application and/or in other communications with us. Please contact our office at 715.387.4443 to discuss specific coverage details and your insurance needs. All coverages are subject to the terms, conditions and exclusions of the actual policy issued. Not all policies or coverages are available in every state. Information provided on this site does not constitute professional advice; if you have legal, tax or financial planning questions, you should contact an appropriate professional. Any hypertext links to other sites are provided as a convenience only; we have no control over those sites and do not endorse or guarantee any information provided by those sites.

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